Raspberry Pi 3 Media Server, Part 2

I had a plan when I ordered the parts; it’s not that ambitious, in the grand scheme, but likely the most interesting thing I’ve worked on.

Design (Initial)

  • 2x Raspberry Pi 3
  • 1x 2TB External HDD
  • 1x Wireless Router with NFS/SMB support
  • Plex Media Server

My initial plan was to use two RPi for this.  One would strictly handle media server functions, the other would strictly handle transcoding (in testing, I’m able to transcode about 12 hours of HD video per day if the RPi is running all day long.)  Unfortunately, no plan survives first contact with the enemy, but that’s something we’ll get into later.

The external HDD is actually going to be the existing media server hard drive in an enclosure.  There’s a significant amount of media already stored, and it seems a waste to do it any other way.

I started testing using my Asus router.  It’s a good router, but that’s with some custom firmware (Merlin, if anyone wants to check it out, I can recommend it).  The custom firmware adds support for a few things, like NFS, but the stock firmware actually supports torrents natively using the open source Transmission torrent client running as a daemon. This opens up some pretty amazing options for this project (or, well, if I was able to use my personal router for this project, it would).

Plex Media Server is being used partly for a technical reason, partly for familiarity.  It’s a good piece of software; it handles the vast majority of media tasks on its town, which great for building, say, a media server for your parents.  Add in the apps and smart-device support, and we have a simple winner!

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